Stuck in the Sky / by Walter Kitundu

I got a text from my neighbor that we had a bird stuck in the skylight at the top of the back stairs. It's an exterior staircase with a cap that lets light in but keeps the weather out. My daughter and I went to investigate and found a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker patiently hopping around the perimeter looking for a way out.

The sun was strong and we hatched a plan to cover the skylight with a blanket so the bird would know to escape by flying down toward the light from the open stairway. While my neighbor gathered materials the Sapsucker kept hopping and looking and searching for an opening. At least it had some insects for company and I saw it pick off a few as it waited.

Meanwhile my daughter looked on with great curiosity in the arms of my neighbor's great kid. Birding as a parent is a community affair.

We finally gained access to the roof and started covering the skylight.

... and as it grew darker the Sapsucker began to look toward the light below.

And a second after this photo was taken the bird was flying free over the backyard and toward distant trees. We got to see a special bird up close and perform a rescue. Not bad for a slow Sunday morning.